Current Lab Members

 Brunet Lab. (2017-2018) (minus Matt Hetherington)

from left to right: Fabiana Fragoso, Greg Gelembiuk, Danny Minahan,  Austin Staudinger, Johanne Brunet, Zach Diamond, Luisangely Soto-Torres, Emmanuel Santa-Martinez, Talaidh Isaacs

Graduate Students and visiting Scholar (2015-2016)

grad_cibele_2015-2016_opt

from left to right: Danny Minahan, Emmanuel Santa-Martinez, Rosy Link, Cibele de Castro and Austin Bauer

Current Graduate Students

Emmanuel Santa-Martínez

PhD Candidate in Entomology
June 2012 – present

B.S. University of Puerto Rico-Humacao, Biology

LabPhoto_Emma_Santa_optI grew up in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico, and received a B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico-Humacao (UPR-Humacao). As an undergraduate student, I participated in several summer internships. I conducted research at the University of Colorado-Boulder, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Case Western Reserve University and UPR-Humacao. In 2012, I began graduate studies in the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I’m pursuing my PhD. My research project involves examining the foraging behavior of honey bees, bumble bees, and alfalfa leafcutting bees on alfalfa plants and quantifying their impact on selfing rate and the potential for gene flow. I’m studying how distinct bee species forage within and among plants and deposit pollen over successive flowers. My research will help others understand how distinct pollinators mediate mating systems and impact the genetic structure of plant populations. I’m actively involved in outreach events where I teach the community about pollinators, their importance and benefits, and ways to promote their conservation. I’m also the Extension student from the Entomological Graduate Student Association from our department. Aside from research I like going to the beach, gardening, movies, and hiking.

Website:   https://www.linkedin.com/in/emmanuelsanta

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Emmanuel_Santa-Martinez

Publications:

Mohl, E. K., Santa-Martinez, E., & Heimpel, G. E. (2016). Interspecific differences in milkweeds alter predator density and the strength of trophic cascades. Arthropod-Plant Interactions, 1–13.

Link: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11829-016-9430-3/fulltext.html

Riday, H., Reisen, P., Raasch, J. A., Santa-Martinez, E., & Brunet, J. (2015). Selfing Rate in an Alfalfa Seed Production Field Pollinated with Leafcutter Bees. Crop Science, 55(3), 1087-1095

Awards: 

Academic Year 2015-2016

1) USDA- AFRI Student Travel Grant- ESA 2015 in Minneapolis, MN

2) Kinney Merit Award – Department of Entomology, UW- Madison

Academic Year 2016 – 2017

1) ICE 2016 – NSF Travel Award, ICE 2016 in Orlando, FL  (announcement was in March 2016) 

Presentations:

Santa, E., Brunet, J. Linking pollinator behavior to selfing rate for three distinct pollinators of alfalfa. Oral Presentation. Wisconsin Ecology 19th Annual Spring Symposium, University of Wisconsin-Madison. March 2016.

Santa, E., Clayton, M., Brunet, J. Comparing the behavior of three bee species foraging on alfalfa flowers. Poster Presentation. Wisconsin Ecology Recruitment Session, University of Wisconsin- Madison. February 2016.

Santa, E., Brunet, J. Linking pollinator behavior to selfing rate for three distinct pollinators of alfalfa. Oral Presentation. Entomological Society of America meeting, Minneapolis, MN. November 2015.

Santa-Martinez, E., Brunet, J. Linking pollinator behavior to selfing rate for two distinct pollinators. Poster Presentation. Wisconsin Ecology Recruitment Session, University of Wisconsin-Madison. February 2015.

Santa-Martinez, E., Brunet, J. Linking pollinator behavior to selfing rate for two distinct pollinators. Poster Presentation. Entomological Society of America national meeting, Portland, OR. November 2014.

Santa-Martinez, E., Brunet, J. Linking pollinator behavior to selfing rate for three distinct pollinators of alfalfa. Oral Presentation. North-Central Branch meeting Entomological Society of America, Des Moines, IA. March 2014.

Affiliations:

Entomological Society of America

Ecological Society of America

Society for the Study of Evolution

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Danny Minahan

PhD Candidate in Zoology
Fall 2013 – present

Danny’s Personal Website

  • B. A. (Magna cum Laude) University of Colorado at Boulder – Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Danny Lab Picture_opt

My research interests are focused on the foraging behavior of bees, and how this relates to the identity and quality of collected resources. I use a variety of approaches to address these questions including radio frequency identification (RFID) to monitor bee movement to and from the hive, and collecting resources directly from returning foragers.

Aside from academia I also enjoy skiing, rock climbing, paddling, natural history strolls, guitar, and pleasure reading (generally non-fiction; history, current events, and philosophy).

Awards:

The Garden Club of America Centennial Pollinator Fellowship. March 2016.

University of Wisconsin – John Jefferson Davis Travel Award. December 2015

University of Wisconsin – Department of Zoology Graduate Research Grant. May 2014

Presentations:

Minahan, D., Brunet, J. Comparing the Temporal Foraging Patterns of the European Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) and Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens). Poster presentation. Entomological Society of America meeting, Minneapolis, MN. November 2015.

Affiliations:

Entomological Society of America

Ecological Society of America

Society for the Study of Evolution

Matt Hetherington

PhD Candidate in Entomology
Fall 2017 – present

  • B.S. University of Memphis – Biology
  • M.S. University of Arkansas Little Rock – General Biology

I was born and raised in Memphis, TN where I earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Memphis.  As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to work in Dr. Michael Ferkin’s lab studying aspects of meadow vole (Microtus pennsylvanicus) behavioral and chemical ecology.  Subsequently I earned my M.S. in general biology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, where my thesis examined how the peachtree borer (Synanthedon exitiosa) and lesser peachtree borer (Synanthedon pictipes) utilize plant volatiles to orient on optimal hosts. Now, I am turning my attention to the western tarnished plant bug (Lygus hesperus), which is a generalist pest that causes significant damage to alfalfa seed production.  I plan to identify patterns in the volatile emissions of a diverse subset of suitable hosts and correlate metabolomic analyses with behavioral assays in the laboratory and the field.  Hopefully understanding the cues that mediate lygus movement will facilitate the development of more sustainable control strategies. 

Post-Doctoral Scholar

Fabiana Fragoso

Fall 2017 – present

  • B.S. University of Sao Paulo – Biological Sciences
  • M.S. University of Sao Paulo – Entomology
  • PhD University of Sao Paulo – Entomology

I have a B.S. degree and a Teaching degree in Biological Sciences from University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. As an undergraduate student, I investigated the reinstatement of litter decomposition in areas of Atlantic Forest undergoing restoration. Subsequently, I earned both a M.S and a PhD in Entomology at University of Sao Paulo, where I researched how pollinator communities, mainly bees, responded to forest restoration. 

Currently, I am trying to assess how pollinator behavior affects gene flow on genetically engineered crops at a landscape level.  Using alfalfa and bumblebees as the study system, we are analyzing the bumblebee decision making process to move between patches in different landscapes and also obtaining empirical evidence of gene flow from genetically engineered to conventional patches of alfalfa. Hopefully, the results of this study will contribute to better management strategies and enhanced coexistence between different markets.

Honorary Fellow

  • Zach Diamond

Undergraduate Students

  • Talaidh Isaacs
  • Austin Staudinger
  • Oscar Li
  • Alayna Hoesly

Former Graduate Students

Rosabeth Link

Graduate Student – Master in Entomology
2014 – 2016

  • B.S. Dickinson College, Biology

 

I am  interested in insect- plant interactions – specifically pollination. I have a B.S. in Biology from Dickinson College. I study the floral scent of alfalfa flowers, and how bees of three species (leaf-cutting bees, honey bees and bumble bees) respond to the chemical components making up the scent. I will identify the volatile compounds from several varieties of alfalfa, and study bee reaction to individual chemicals using electroantennogram trials and choice tests. 

Publications

Brunet, J., M.W. Thairu, J.M. Henss, R.I Link and J.A. Kluever. 2015. The effects of flower, floral display and reward sizes on bumble bee foraging when pollen is the reward and plants are dichogamous. Int. J. Plant Sci. 176(9): 811-819.

Carr, David E., et al. “Variation in reward quality and pollinator attraction: The consumer does not always get it right.” AoB Plants (2015): plv034.

Margaret W. Thairu

Graduate Student – Master in Entomology
2011 – 2014

  • B.S. Florida State University, Biological Sciences

Margaret completed her Master Thesis in Entomology in Spring 2014 and is now pursuing a PhD in the department of Entomology at the University of Illinois.Margaret’s project examined the role of bumble bee and hawkmoths in maintaining color variation in populations of the Rocky Mountain Columbine, Aquilegia coerulea.

Publications from the Lab

Margaret Thairu and Johanne Brunet. 2015. The role of pollinators in maintaining variation in flower colour in the Rocky Mountain columbine, Aquilegia coerulea. Annals of Botany  115:971-979. 

Brunet, J., M.W. Thairu, J.M. Henss, R.I Link and J.A. Kluever. 2015. The effects of flower, floral display and reward sizes on bumble bee foraging when pollen is the reward and plants are dichogamous. Int. J. Plant Sci. 176(9): 811-819.

Posters and Presentations

Thairu M. W., and J. Brunet 2013. Pollinator preferences and their potential effects on floral trait diversity. Entomological Society of America, Austin, TX, November 10-13.

Johanne Brunet, Yang Zhao, Megan Van Etten, Margaret Thairu, Vera Pfeiffer, Jillian Henss and Murray Clatyon. 2013. Modeling pollinator movements to predict transgene escape in insect-pollinated crops. Entomological Society of America, Austin, TX, November 10-13.

Thairu M. W., and Brunet Johanne, (2012) Presentation: Pollinator preference and their potential role in maintaining floral trait diversity. Presented at the Entomological Society of America annual meeting, Knoxville Tennessee.

Austin Bauer

Graduate Student – Master in Entomology 2014 – 2016  

Austin defended his Master thesis in June 2016. He is currently an assistant coach for tracks and field at Luther College.

website photo austin_optMy primary research interests are in plant-pollinator interactions.  My research focuses on how variation in floral traits of alfalfa influences foraging behavior in three distinct bee species: honey bees (Apis mellifera), bumble bees (Bombus impatiens), and alfalfa leaf cutting bees (Megachile rotundata).  I work in patches of flowering alfalfa at an agricultural field station examining which floral traits are most attractive to these bees and how those plant traits influence bee movement.

I graduated from Luther College (’14) with a B.A. in Biology. My undergraduate research examined the effect of prescribed fire on plant and insect (ground beetles and butterflies) communities in a roadside prairie planting in northeast Iowa with Dr. Kirk Larsen. Prescribed fire was used as a control method for invasive cool-season grasses that currently dominate roadsides and to stimulate growth of native plants.  The goal of the project was to create a native diverse mesic tallgrass prairie suitable for native insect species.

http://ilr.winningit.com/ResearchProjects/90-00-LRTF-309Larsen.pdf

Outside of academia, I enjoy hiking/backpacking, canoeing, cooking, and watching sports.  I also run on the Movin’ Shoes Race Team in Madison, WI, I play trumpet in the University Band and I play French horn in a brass quintet at Midvale Community Lutheran Church.

Publications from the Lab

Bauer AA, MK Clayton and J Brunet. Floral traits influencing plant attractiveness to three bee species and its consequences for plant reproductive success. Submitted.

Bauer AA and J Brunet. (in preparation)  Phenotypic selection by three distinct pollinators.

 

Department of Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

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